We’re all going to have to be the braver man/woman when Parenthood returns for its final season on NBC and Global this fall. All signs put up by showrunner Jason Katims at the 2014 Television Critics Association Press Tour point to a member of the Braverman family–Kristina? Zeek? Camille?–passing away this year.
At a drama showrunner panel alongside David Greenwalt (Grimm), Matt Olmstead (Chicago Fire, Chicago PD) and John Eisendrath (The Blacklist), Katims teased that there will be a “larger story that influences everybody on the show and has a huge effect on everybody on the show” in Season 6. Introduced in the season premiere, this plot point will be “a huge new challenge for the family, and a kind we’ve never seen before.”
As soon as Katims said this, journalists, including this not-so-closeted wannabe Braverman, took to social media, theorizing that after Season 5 tackled divorce, this could only mean one thing: death. While he didn’t confirm anything while speaking with Cinefilles and a few other outlets during a post-panel scrum, what he would say about this overarching storyline added to these suspicions.
“It’s something that I feel like … it’s another one of those big life moments that I think the show tackles well when we do it,” he explained to a small group on the TCA stage, possibly referencing last season’s loss of Kristina (Monica Potter) pal Gwen (Rose Abdoo). “Like, when we did Kristina’s cancer storyline a few years ago, it was one our stronger stories that we did and, obviously, some of the best performances. We wanna do a story that, again, is one of those biggies that the family has to deal with.”
When one writer pressed the issue, asking straight-up if there will be a death, Katims skirted around it, but did say, “You’re already on to something.” That said, he could have been referring to an earlier question about whether Amber (Mae Whitman) got pregnant with Ryan (Matt Lauria)’s baby after getting intimate with him in that hospital bed in last season’s finale as well. (“There was sex,” Katims said at that. “We’ll deal with that in the first episode.”)
No matter what he has planned, Katims made sure to note that he’s got the extended Braverman brood in mind with this latest twist. “I do feel a tremendous responsibility to the fans of the show because it’s an incredibly loyal fanbase. A fanbase that … everytime you meet someone who knows the show, it’s very special how much they care about the show,” he said Sunday. “And, by the way, I care about the show. It’s a show that’s really a big part of my life as writer, and my life as a person.”
Yep if this funeral happens, it’s going to be a packed one.
Emily is covering the 2014 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour live from the Beverly Hills Hilton from June 12 – 22. Tune in every day for new pieces and follow her tweets at @Cinefilles and @emilygagne.